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Latin America, said to be on the other side of the globe. How different is its culture from that of Japan? I asked Facundo (Facu) from Argentina, who lives in my dormitory.
Argentina is known for its cheerful Latin tempo, its soccer team ranked No. 1 in the FIFA world rankings, and a beef dish called asado which originated with the gauchos (cowboys). Its official language is Spanish. Fac told me about various customs not found in Japan, such as the siesta (nap) culture that is still widely practiced outside of urban areas, and a unique custom of students splattering paint on each other upon graduation from university, as well as about the inflation that hit Argentina with the crash of the German mark. The thing that interested me the most were their greetings.
While bowing and shaking hands are common in Japan, in Argentina cheek-to-cheek kisses and hugs are more common. Incidentally, cheek-to-cheek kissing is more common between women and between women and men, while men tend to shake hands with each other.
Also, because people are so close, it is easier to receive counseling. Fac was surprised by how high the psychological hurdles are to receive counseling and treatment in Japan.
Coming from a country like this, he sometimes feels like Japanese people maintain a wide personal space. However, he like many other international students understand these differences in personal space and treat us accordingly. I am going to study abroad in Spain in September. By then, I hope I can be considerate of cultural differences and be able to greet people naturally with a cheek-to-cheek kiss.
Facundo Ezequiel Raimundez Doldan
College of International Management, exchange student
Based on a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Oita Godo Newspaper, since January 2022, Student PR Assistants (SPA) have been contributing their interviews with international students to the life and culture section of the newspaper’s morning edition. SPA will introduce different cultures and the interesting topics they raise from an authentic, student perspective. These student writers take this opportunity to get the newspaper’s readership and students interested in the world as well as aim to improve their skills with the aid of professional editors.
!Hola¡ My name is Miyabi and my hobby is challening myself at anything! I am also interested in the Spanish-speaking world and the field of education! Through SPA, I would like to convey not only the charm of the unique life at APU, but also the study abroad program in Spain starting in the fall of 2023! !